Gibson Firebird VII Solid Body Electric Guitar (1965)

Gibson  Firebird VII Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1965)

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Item # 7753
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Gibson Firebird VII Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1965), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, sunburst lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

Here is the rarest stock variant of the 1960s Firebird family...a "non-reverse" Firebird VII. This model was the top of the line of the downpriced and simplified second series of Firebirds which replaced the earlier "reverse" body guitars starting in summer 1965, and as such was made in only very limited quantities.

While still carrying three mini-humbucking pickups and all gold-plated hardware, this second edition Firebird VII was not fitted with deluxe appointments like the bound, block-inlaid ebony fingerboard of the earlier version. While still top of the Firebird line, the VII was a less fancy-looking guitar than the earlier rendition -- or the SG Custom -- despite a fairly high price tag.

With a total of only 79 shipped after 1965 and a listed total of 110 for that year (at least half of which were likely the earlier reverse model), the non-reverse Firebird VII was actually made in much smaller quantity than other oft-quoted Firebird rarities like the reverse VII (around 250), non-reverse XII (272), and reverse I (over 1,000).

The pots on this particular guitar date to the second half of 1965 (the final digit is not visible), so the guitar would have been sold at the end of that year, or in early 1966. The knobs are the earlier gold-capped variants seen on the previous generation, not the later less aesthetic "witch hat" amp-style knobs used from 1967. The neck is narrower than on earlier Firebirds, but not quite as insubstantial-feeling as many period SG necks.

An interesting sonic quirk of the Firebird VII is the snarlingly out-of-phase pickup combination selected in the middle switch position; only the VII (and the Epiphone Crestwood Deluxe) feature mini-humbuckers in this mode. This is a great-sounding guitar in all positions, with a very powerful neck PU and a particularly biting lead unit.

While the "non-reverse" Firebirds have often been discounted in Gibson history, they are very distinctive guitars unlike any other and can often be excellent instruments. Light, fast, and very stylish, this VII is a fine example of an undeservedly rare Gibson model.
Overall length is 43 1/2 in. (110.5 cm.), 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 9/16 in. (40 mm.).

This guitar is all original with no major repairs or alterations, but does have some wear including considerable finish checking, small dings and chips, and some typical wear to the gold plating. Several of the pickguard tips have been patched in neatly; as the plastic 'guard shrinks, these have a tendency to break off at the screw holes, so some small sections of plastic often need to be replaced.

As examples of this very rare guitar go, this is not the cleanest cosmetically but has none of the common breaks or cracks these guitars are prone to! In addition, this is just a very good-playing and GREAT-sounding guitar with a unique sonic character, complete and original (even the gold-plated trem arm is intact), including the original case. Very Good + Condition.